The Discipline of Personal Kindness

Each month I have the discipline of setting goals. They usually consist of meditating (or at least attempting to meditate), eating healthy, visualization, reading and writing. Not that I keep them to a tee, but I’m going with the idea that it is the intent that counts. In August, I had a brilliant idea; my only goal would be simply to “be kind to myself.”

We were in the midst of an across-state move (you can read about in my latest newsletter), and I did not want my inner-critic beating me up over any slip-ups that occurred in the midst of the chaos. A noble aim, right?

That is what everyone thought. I got tons of “Great goal!” comments. I was feeling pretty clever, already planning to blog about my ever-so-brilliant month of kindness idea.

Here is how the month went down…

*****

Thought: I should meditate (or attempt to meditate.)

Action: No meditation. (I was being “kind” to myself and didn’t feel like it.)

Thought: You really should have meditated.

Response: I am being “kind” this month – let it go.

Resulting Action: Fits of overwhelm and stressed-out crying from the move.

*****

Thought: You shouldn’t eat that 3rd slice of pizza and finish it off with ice cream.

Action: Scarf down 3rd slice like I’m never going to eat again and drown my guilt in ice cream. (I was being “kind” and allowing myself treats.)

Thought: You definitely should not have eaten that.

Response: Shut up me! I am being kiiiinnnndddd this month.

Physical Response: Low Energy.

Emotional Response: Fear that I am doing more damage to my already fragile kidney.

*****

My “month of kindness” was turning me into a mess. I was on edge, tired, overwhelmed, and as my husband can attest to, very easily upset.

What I am offering you from my little experiment is a new definition of personal kindness:

Personal kindness is the discipline of doing things that still feel kind to your mind and body 30 minutes after they are done.

The new definition of kindness does not mean that you should mentally beat yourself up for a cookie here or there. It is all about honoring the part of you that knows what your body, mind and emotions need to thrive in the healthiest, most centered way possible.

My goals for September include:

  • Meditation (or attempting to meditate)
  • Visualization
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Less sugar and cheese in general
  • Have I done these each day? No, I’m not quite that kind. That being confessed, the intent is there and each time I honor myself with these acts of kindness, I am reminded of just how important being kind is.



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